Instagram (AKA Facebook) in the News

Instagram hit the news with a bang today, and for all the wrong reasons.

They changed their privacy policy so that they have permission to sell any photos that users have posted to third parties. This means that maybe one day you might see that photo of your dog driving a toy car on TV advertising the said toy.

Dog Driving

A Dog driving a Toy Car

Great, you get famous. Not so great, you don’t get paid for it.

Yes our friends at Instagram have the right to sell the photo and keep the money. They may also “share your information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data with organisations that help us provide the service to you… (and) third-party advertising partners.”

They are not doing it for the money of course, but to “help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

They just want to make your user experience more fun. “This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used,” it said in a statement.

If you don’t want to give them the right to do this you have a choice of course. You can withdraw all your pictures and delete your account by 16th January and never use them again.

I have written various articles about Facebook and their fluid privacy policies, you can find one here.

One of the most incredible things to me is reading the comments that these articles have provoked. Some people do not care about privacy, it seems to be a thing that only we oldies ever think about. This is a massive change in culture and opens a myriad of possibilities for exploitation in many forms.

Many of my friends use Facebook, probably all of them, but I am the odd one out. I do not use Facebook. A choice that has consequences, I could not register for Spotify the other week, they want your information. But I don’t want to share mine! And recently I applied for a job as a journalist but they wanted a breakdown of my social networking, so if you don’t do social networking you must not be a very good writer.

So make sure that your Instagram friends know what is happening so they can make an informed decision, think about what you post and where you post it, and remember, nothing comes for free, not even social networking.